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Stocks claw back early losses; Apple leads tech higher

Stocks claw back early losses; Apple leads tech higher
The facade of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

U.S. stocks clawed back early losses Tuesday as Apple led a rally in technology companies. Smaller, more domestically focused companies also climbed. The late push offset a slump in household goods-makers and industrial companies.

Stocks fell in the early going as investors focused on trade tensions, a drop in construction and weaker growth in manufacturing. Steel-makers lost ground after the White House said it will delay by 30 days its decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 354 points, then recovered much of that loss.

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Amazon and other retailers rose, while banks and healthcare companies wiped out early losses to finish with small gains.

Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said that even though companies are reporting great first-quarter results, the market isn't reacting much. He thinks some people don't want to invest because the market has gone through such huge swings over the last three months.

"It's been the best earnings season we've had in 10 years," he said. "People are starting to sit out. And part of the reason they're sitting out is we're having such high volatility."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.75 points, or 0.3%, to 2,654.80. The Dow slipped 64.10 points, or 0.3%, to 24,099.05 as Boeing fell along with other industrial companies and McDonald's gave back some of the previous day's gain.

Technology companies surged, sending the Nasdaq composite up 64.44 points, or 0.9%, to 7,130.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 8.44 points, or 0.5%, to 1,550.33.

Apple climbed 2.3% to $169.10 in regular trading. Then it jumped 4% in aftermarket trading after the company's fiscal second quarter profit surpassed Wall Street's expectations, as did its sales forecast for the current quarter. The company also raised its dividend and said it will buy back $100 billion in stock.

Apple's stock has lagged behind peers such as Microsoft and Intel as investors worried about the possibility of slowing iPhone sales. It is the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company.

Intel rose 3.3% to $53.33. Video game-maker Electronic Arts rose 1.6% to $119.83.

Electronic storage company Seagate Technology slid 6.4% to $54.21 after its quarterly report. The stock is still up almost 30% this year.

The Trump administration's delay in imposing tariffs sidesteps a potential trade battle with Europe for now, but European Union leaders want a permanent exemption and say the uncertainty caused by delays is bad for business. The announcement comes ahead of the trade talks between the United States and China later this week.

Industrial companies struggled. Boeing fell 1.2% to $329.54 and engine-maker Cummins tumbled 4.1% to $153.28 after its quarterly report. Lockheed Martin sagged 3.9% to $308.46 as defense contractors continued to struggle.

U.S. manufacturing kept growing in April, but it did so at a slower pace, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers. Many factories said shortages of workers and skills affected their productivity. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said construction spending fell in March as home building dropped sharply.

Frederick, of Charles Schwab, said investors haven't had to deal with a lot of weak economic data in the last year. "That's something the market is kind of not used to," he said.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said his social network is developing its own dating feature, and shares of Match Group tumbled. The operator of dating apps including Match, OKCupid and Tinder plunged 22.1% to $36.71. Match's biggest investor and former parent company, IAC/InteractiveCorp, sank 17.8% to $133.33.

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Pfizer slumped 3.3% to $35.40 after its first-quarter sales fell short of estimates. The maker of pain medicine Lyrica and the blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine against pneumococcal infections said sales of older medicines slipped.

Tapestry, Coach's parent company, sank 11.7% to $47.46 after it said its Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands had a weak quarter.

Commodities prices fell as the dollar grew stronger. Oil prices gave up some of their recent gains. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1.9% to $67.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 2.1% to $73.13 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline fell 2% to $2.09 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2.3% to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.4% to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 0.9% to $1,306.80 an ounce. Silver fell 1.7% to $16.13 an ounce. Copper fell 1.2% to $3.04 a pound.

Bond prices edged down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.97% from 2.96%. The 10-year yield hit a four-year high last week.

The dollar rose to 109.81 yen from 109.29 yen. The euro fell to $1.1993 from $1.2082.

Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1%, and the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.2%. Markets in France and Germany, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and most cities in Southeast Asia were closed for holidays.

UPDATES:

2:25 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices and context.

This article was originally published at 12:05 p.m.

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